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SXSW 2013: 20 Must-See Acts

Make room in your schedule, between the beer and barbecue, for these bands

SXSW 20 must see acts

With more than 1,300 acts scheduled to perform at South by Southwest in Austin this week, it's easy to get lost among the endless choices at the 27th-annual festival, which runs Tuesday through Saturday. There are some clear standouts, though, from well-known acts like Iggy and the Stooges, Vampire Weekend and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to buzzed-about up-and-comers including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alt-J and Waxahatchee. They're among 20 must-see acts at SXSW who are worth making room for, between the beer and the barbecue, in your schedule.

Click through to read more, and listen to songs from our bands to watch below.

By Eric R. Danton

Vampire Weekend

Alternative Distribution Alliance


Vampire Weekend

After leaving SXSW in 2008 as one of the most talked-about bands at the festival, Vampire Weekend return this year a rather more seasoned group – and possibly just as talked-about. The New York rockers have an adventurous new album, Modern Vampires of the City, due May 7th, and while new songs have trickled out in wobbly audience-shot videos with murky audio, what better opportunity to hear the new music firsthand? 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Courtesy Press Here


Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It's been four years since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last put out an album, but the New York art-punk trio are readying their fourth LP, Mosquito, for release on April 16th. In other words, there's an excellent chance some of the new songs, most of which they wrote in New Orleans, will make it into the band's Austin set list, given that they've been playing them in concert already. But even if they don't trot out the new jams, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are justly celebrated for their riotous live performances.

Natalie Maines

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS


Natalie Maines

Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines has been busier as a parent and an activist than as a musician since 2007, when the chart-topping country trio went largely dormant. But Maines is back this spring with a new album, Mother, that's due out in May. The album, a rock record, pairs a handful of originals with covers of tunes by Jeff Buckley, Ben Harper and Pink Floyd, whose song "Mother" doubles as the title track.

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